The development in the education field in West Papua has been going on since the 1960s. It was piloted by Universitas Cenderawasih that was established in 1962. Through changes and developments, there are now several top universities and institutes in this province that have been the centers of education consisting of the extensive field of studies.
Due to its rich culture and diversity, West Papua can be a great destination for those who want to have a different kind of experience in studying. Whether you reside in this province or outside of the region, here are some of the top universities in West Papua to consider.
This university is one of the first among the higher education institution in West Papua. It is located in Jayapura, with two main campus locations. Opened in 1962, Universitas Cenderawasih has faculty of law, economics, nursing, teacher training and education, engineering, medical, social and political sciences, and agricultural sciences.
The latter had been separated and form a new institution known as Universitas Negeri Papua in 2000. Some well-known alumni started their education here, such as Boaz Solossa (football player), John Rumbiak (ELS-HAM Jayapura founder, Institute of Human Rights Studies and Advocacy), and Barnabas Suebu (former governor of West Papua).
To West Papuan, Universitas Cenderawasih is one of the prime destinations when picking for college. There are two campuses which are located in Abepura and Waena. The campuses are equipped with extracurricular facilities such as a sports stadium, library, computer center, and an auditorium.
Though the Universitas Papua itself had just been established in 2000, the history of its faculty of agricultural science took back to when it was a part of the Universitas Cenderawasih. Now, it has around 13 faculties, including agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry, economics and business, letters and culture, and engineering.
The 13 faculties are divided into 47 majors concentrations. However, faculties of technic attract more students than other majors. The campuses are spread around three locations: Manokwari, Sorong, and Raja Ampat. To support the student’s activity, these campuses have other facilities such as a sports stadium, library, computer center, free Wi-Fi throughout the campus area, and dormitories.
Some of the alumni who graduated from Universitas Papua made it to continue their education abroad, which means that the graduates from this campus have proven their quality in the global era.
Universitas Sains dan Teknologi Jayapura
Universitas Sains and Teknologi Jayapura is a university of science and technology. While the two mentioned above are government-owned, this university is privately owned and focuses on the development of science and technology. Established in 1984 by the former governor of West Papua (Irian Jaya then), USTJ is the first institution that concentrates on technology and science.
Universitas Sains dan Teknologi Jayapura provides scholarships for their students. As a tech campus, USTJ encourages the use of computers in class. As a college student, you will find a supportive environment on this campus. USTJ also provides a shuttle bus for students.
Universitas Musamus Merauke
Located in Merauke, Universitas Musamus is an extenstion of STT (Sekolah Tinggi Teknik) Merauke. In 2006, the STT, which was only concentrated in technology and engineering, added more faculty and changed its status to a university.
Among the faculties are economics, social and political sciences, agriculture, and teacher training and education. In total, there are five faculties divided into 49 majors. The facilities inside the campus include a sports facility, free Wi-Fi connection, and a library.
The Challenges of Higher Education in West Papua
Throughout the years, university in West Papua has been struggling to continue providing education and attract and encourage West Papuan youths to continue studying. Some others may choose to find education outside of the island and go to other cities such as Makassar, Surabaya, Malang, and Yogyakarta.
The infrastructure development that has been going on for the last decade would also play a role in escalating the numbers of students going to the cities for higher education. While big cities such as Manokwari, Sorong, and Jayapura are already on track to provide education, it would take a rather long time to attract those in the rural areas.
The long-term vision of the education and university in West Papua is to cultivate the youths and contribute to the human development in the future. The universities are also trying their best to provide an environment that supports creativity and critical thinking.
Education and providing universities in West Papua still has a long way to go to more inclusive education. In the next few years, the West Papuan youths do not need to seek education outside of their island and would be the ones who continue the support of the developing region.